Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Reza
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Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Postby Reza » Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:28 am

Chappaquiddick (John Curran, 2018) 7/10

I'm old enough to vaguely remember the events surrounding Senator Ted Kennedy (Jason Clarke) and his accident when the car he was driving went off a bridge and into the ocean. He managed to escape but the woman, a secretary - Mary Jo Kopechne (Kate Mara) - with him in the car drowned. There were various tragedies involved in this incident of which the woman's death was of course the foremost. There was also the despicable tragedy of a man who failed to report the accident for over 10 hours and instead quickly got his father, Joe Kennedy (Bruce Dern) and his PR guys to get him out of the "mess". And there was the tragedy of a man who was desperate for his over bearing and ambitious father's love and respect - there is a great scene between the father, stricken by a stroke, and his youngest son which sums up their relationship. The events of that night still remain a mystery almost 50 years later. Was the Senator having an affair with the woman? Was he drunk while driving? How did he get out of the car while she remained trapped? A promising upcoming career in politics (along with a Presidential nomination) was assured Ted Kennedy as he was poised to follow in the footsteps of his two older brothers - John & Robert. The accident derailed everything and the incident hovered over his head till the day he died. The film details the cover-up and the oily political "machinery" at work. Kennedy comes off as a confused, selfish and uncaring spoilt brat - it's outrageous people voted for him and he became Senator of Massachusetts. But the story is nothing new as cover-ups have been part and parcel of political life and will always continue - personal ambition and stakes become too high as politicians blindly make compromises throwing integrity to the wind. Well made film is interesting from the historical perspective.

Reza
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Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Postby Reza » Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:26 am

Hannah (Andrea Pallaoro, 2018) 8/10

Devastating character study filmed in a minimalist manner - no background score with just natural sounds and shot in a frosty manner. The camera focuses on the face of Charlotte Rampling - now ravaged with lines and her droopy eyelids and the corners of her mouth displaying a flutter of movement which in closeup amplifies the grief on her face which she holds back. We gradually discover that her husband is in jail for some hideous crime and because she supported him she is now avoided by everyone including her son. We see her going about her drab daily existence - making meals in solitary silence, brushing her hair, bathing (no film of Rampling would be complete without her in the nude), frosting a cake, tending to her plants, working as a domestic and attending an acting class where voice exercises allow her to cathartically release her anguish disguised as part of the performance. This is a chilling portrait of loneliness and despair and Rampling is the perfect actor for the role. She has always been daring in her choice of film roles and this is just as difficult and different to the many that came before. She embodies the character with grace and dignity until we are suddenly shown moments where she breaks down sobbing with uncontrolled anguish. For this performance Rampling won the best actress award at the Venice film festival. Not a film for everyone's taste but a must-see to experience the work of a great star, who at 72, continues to be at the peak of her acting powers.

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Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Postby Reza » Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:26 am

Mary Shelley (Haifaa Al Mansour, 2018) 8/10

Saudi Arabia's first female director continues the theme from her acclaimed film "Wadjda" - a determined female protagonist, who at a young age, accomplishes a goal that leads to her independence. From a ten-year old Saudi tomboy wishing to ride a bike the director moves to this Hollywood production about Mary Shelley (Elle Fanning) who is encouraged by her father (Stephen Dillane) to think out of the box. Sent by him to Scotland she meets, falls in love and elopes with the celebrated 21-year old poet Percy Shelley (Douglas Booth) who she discovers is married with a child and a philanderer - he also has an affair with her half-sister (Bel Powley) as they all live in squalor having been cut off by their families because of the scandal. During this bleak period in her life she is challenged by the decadent Lord Byron (Tom Sturridge) to write a ghost story which eventually turns out to be the classic gothic story of "Frankenstein" - the destructive monster who represents Mary's emotional state. Since she was a woman she had to get it published annonymously and for which credit went to her husband. Fanning is superb capturing the pain and anguish of a woman born during a time and place where she is forced to be subserviant to men. Al Mansour directs the film with a sure hand creating a gloomy atmosphere and sexual tension between the characters in a film that celebrates romance and feminist history. Superbly designed film has wonderful production values. Both Douglas Booth and Tom Sturridge, playing characters who were equivalent to today's rock or movie stars, are superb as strutting versions of the male species causing much unhappiness for the women in their lives. For a kinkier version of this story please turn to Ken Russell's deliciously deranged "Gothic" which has lashings of sex and blood.

Reza
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Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Postby Reza » Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:26 am

Sanju (Rajkumar Hirani, 2018) 9/10

Hirani's film takes great pains to put to rest the accusations against actor Sanjay Dutt of being a terrorist during the Mumbai blasts of 1993. The film is also a no-holds barred account of the actor's drug addiction with harrowing scenes set in a clinic dealing with his withdrawal symptoms but most of all it's a love story between a father and his wayward son. Sanjay Dutt (Ranbir Kapoor), son of Bollywood superstars - Sunil Dutt (Paresh Rawal) and icon Nargis (Manisha Koirala) - is launched as an actor in 1981 by his father in the film "Rocky". Unbeknownst to the exacting and highly principled Sunil Dutt is the acute drug problem of his son - a classic case of a son looking up to iconic parents and not being able to measure up. Adding to the young man's woes is his mother's death from cancer and a failed love affair with his girlfriend Ruby (Sonam Kapoor) - actually actress Tina Munim who the film for obvious reasons cannot mention - who dumps him because of his drug problems and gets married to someone else. To cope with all these issues he turns to drugs regularly supplied by a slimy pusher (Jim Sarbh). The screenplay takes the form of a mystery-thriller as moments of his life are investigated and clarified by a writer (Anushka Sharma wearing a hideous wig) who is asked by the actor and his wife Manyata (Diya Mirza) to put down in the form of a book so that the public gets to know the truth instead of reading sensational accounts of his life in the tabloids. The film also deals in detail about the actor's incarceration in prison on charges of being a terrorist. Ranbir Kapoor transforms himself into Sanjay Dutt not only capturing the actor's voice, mannerisms and hangdog expression but also delves deep into his psyche capturing the man's vulnerability and acute anguish. It's an amazing performance matched by Paresh Rawal as the supportive father - all their scenes together are heartbreaking - and Vicky Kaushal who is superb as the star's caring and steadfast friend. The film is brilliantly edited and has outstanding production design, cinematography and costumes superbly recreating the era of the early 1980s and 1990s. Allegedly actress Madhuri Dixit called upon the film's producers to ensure there was no mention of her in the film as it was strongly rumoured that the one time co-stars (their biggest hit together was "Khalnayak") were also lovers who were going to get married but she back tracked herself from his life when he was arrested on charges of terrorism in 1993 - the producers appear to have obliged as there is no mention of her in the film. The film's closing credits has a song which is performed and danced together by Ranbir Kapoor and Sunjay Dutt himself. This film should not be missed.

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Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Postby Reza » Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:25 am

Foxtrot (Arturo Ripstein, 1976) 8/10

Rather odd but compelling parable about the futility of war and how its savage force grips and spreads like a virus no matter where you hide. A Romanian aristocrat (Peter O'Toole) and his chic wife (Charlotte Rampling) decide to elude the war raging in Europe on an uncharted island in the Pacific. Their only companions are a longtime friend (Max von Sydow) and a trusted servant (Jorge Luke). They set up home (an art deco giant tent) and live a lavish life dancing (the foxtrot), sunbathing, swimming and drinking champagne - pure decadence with no worries. Unannounced arrive a group of friends who completely disrupt the calm status quo of the quartet. The next few days involve endless parties, orgies and hunting of the wild birds and seals on the island. When the group leaves after a few days the relationship between the original four drastically changes and now involves rationing of food and drink as they agree on sharing everything on the island equally. With class barriers broken the lone woman becomes fair game amongst the three men leading to greed, jealousy, mistrust, deception, murder and madness. War along with its destructive powers has found its way onto the island. O'Toole and stunning Charlotte Rampling charge this fascinating film with a heavy dose of sexual chemistry creating sparks as they alternatively spar and make love. The film is beautifully shot with the stars looking resplendent in their period costumes as they pose on beaches and against sunsets. A rare film and well worth watching.

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Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Postby Reza » Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:24 am

Un Borghese Piccolo Piccolo / An Average Little Man (Mario Monicelli, 1977) 8/10

Monicelli's deceptive comedy has amusing scenes of traffic annoyances, bureaucratic horrors in Rome offices and a typical stereotypical Italian family - a harrassed and meek father (Alberto Sordi), fat talkative religious mother (a dubbed and very convincing Shelley Winters) who waves her hands around in despair and their son (Vincenzo Crocitti) for whom the father is trying desperately to get a job with the Roman municipal government using old fascist contacts. A sudden tragedy entirely shifts the mood of the film as it becomes a horrifying journey of a man seeking revenge and resorting to torture of unbearable intensity. The film shows that man is quite capable of a complete change in personality when faced by tragic circumstances in life. Sordi is superb as the comical man who resorts to a vengeful fury - the scenes of gruesome torture foreshadow the ones in Tarantino's "Reservoir Dogs". Hardhitting film retains its biting if uncomfortable humour even though the plot turns tragic.

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Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Postby Reza » Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:23 am

Last Embrace (Jonathan Demme, 1979) 7/10

One of Demme's very early films takes a whirl on Hitchcock. Since the master is no longer around and we rarely get to see his kind of films anymore (suspense with top notch stars in tow) these so-called homages can be comfort food. This one also takes on a view of New York â la Woody Allen as many scenes are framed and sharply photographed (by Tak Fujimoto) on location. But we are essentially in Hitchcock territory - the tense plot revolves around a secret agent (Roy Scheider), who after a botched assassination attempt where his wife dies in the crossfire, ends up in a sanitarium ("Spellbound") after which he is sent a cryptic message in aramaic which a professor (John Glover) explains is a threat and his life is in danger as five others have died after receiving similar messages. His handler (an hilarious Christopher Walken) at the agency claims the Company has nothing to do with his problems. There is the mysterious student (Janet Margolin) living in his apartment who ends up helping him find clues to the mystery - Demme, in one scene, has her walk towards Scheider in a bright red dress in a scene straight out of "Vertigo" where Kim Novak does a similar walk wearing an emerald green outfit. A shootout at a bell tower pays further homage to "Vertigo" while the film also channels "Psycho", "Suspicion", The Birds", "Dial M For Murder" and "North By North West". It's all done in a fun way (with suspense) along with a surprising climax at Niagra Falls. The great Miklos Rozsa (who won an Oscar for "Spellbound") creates a score which recalls the best of Bernard Herrmann who did a bunch of films for Hitchcock. Scheider is very good as the intense man who has no idea what is going on and Margolin makes an interesting femme fatale in this tale also involving slave traders and prostitution.

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Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Postby Reza » Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:23 am

Chinatown (Roman Polanski, 1974) 10/10

This is not only one of the greatest and most intricately plotted detective stories but also one of the most gorgeously shot films superbly recreating the atmosphere of 1940s Los Angeles. Robert Towne's brilliant screenplay is now considered to be one of the most perfect screenplays ever written as it deliriously weaves a story about greed, deception, incest and murder. The film transports you into Raymond Chandler noir territory - Jake Gittes (Jack Nicholson), a quick-witted cynical private detective, is hired by a woman to find proof of her husband's infidelity. As he delves deep into the case not only does he find the man - the city water commissioner - seemingly involved with a young woman but to his dismay discovers that he was duped by the woman who hired him when the man's actual wife (Faye Dunaway) appears and threatens to sue him for libel. When the water commissioner turns up dead the plot turns dark. The detective is attacked by a hoodlum (Roman Polanski) who slices his nose, he begins to fall in love with the enigmatic widow who turns extremely neurotic, there is a jigsaw of clues leading to the woman's father (John Huston) who appears to be behind a plot to divert the city's water supply for his own gain. The film's brutal and shocking finale takes place in Chinatown where the plot winds down delving deep into the exploration of the dark side of humanity. The film is painstakingly created by a superb team of technicians - John A. Alonzo's lush cinematography shot in muted tones, Jerry Goldsmith's memorable score, Richard Sylbert's outstanding production design and Anthea Sylbert's elegant costumes. The film is held together by Jack Nicholson in one of his signature roles. He is witty, tough, caring and likeable. Faye Dunaway makes a formidable femme fatale seemingly cold and tough but hiding a fragile vulnerability underneath the facade - her look and manner instantly evokes the glamour of Hollywood's golden age. It was a terrific coup by Polanski to cast director John Huston as the evil Noah Cross. His fragile old body masks a man of intense evil who will not let anything come in his way even if it means sacrificing someone close to him. This is Roman Polanski's masterpiece and easily stands shoulder to shoulder with Hollywood's finest classic films. Nominated for 11 Oscars it sadly only won for it's superb screenplay coming up against The Godfather Part II which took most of the awards. A must-see.

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Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Postby Reza » Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:14 am

An Audience With Kenneth Williams (Alaisdair Macmillan, 1983) 9/10

Williams wit and humour shines in this one-man stage performance where he runs through his life in front of a live audience of friends, strangers and co-workers. Charming and often very funny anecdotes pepper his incredible monologue where he takes us through his career from his days as an entertainer in the army in Singapore during the War onto his career in the theatre (hilarious impersonations of Sir Nöel Coward and Dame Edith Evans), revue (memories of Dame Maggie Smith), on radio, tv (antics on set with Orson Welles) and film (funny bits about the "Carry On" movies and a touching tribute to his frequent co-star Hattie Jacques). He also recalls humourous moments between Sinatra, Phil Silvers and the Pope. A very amusing actor whose flamboyant personality and quick comic timing is on display during this tour de force performance.

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Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Postby Reza » Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:09 am

Sylvia (Gordon Douglas, 1965) 6/10

Contrived exposé about the life of the mysterious, enigmatic and much downtrodden Sylvia (Carroll Baker). A rich suitor (Peter Lawford) hires a private investigator (George Maharis) to check up on the life of the woman he hopes to marry. The story is a series of flashbacks as the detective meets with people who knew Sylvia along her tawdry and sordid life from her poor beginnings to her present life as a rich and successful writer. The film comes alive with its supporting cast - Aldo Ray, Joanne Dru, Edmond O'Brien, Viveca Lindfors, Ann Southern, Lloyd Bochner - playing characters who hindered and helped her in life that involved rape, prostitution, assault, blackmail and eventual hard earned respectability. The subject, once thought shocking, is merely mild soap opera today. Baker has two expressions throughout - one of anguish and the other coquettish - and gives a bored lifeless performance although is a sexy presence throughout. Maharis is equally stiff coming off of his success as a tv star on "Route 66". The film is superbly photographed by Joseph Ruttenberg and Edith Head's modern costumes for the female cast are incredibly chic. Not a bad film if one enjoys mild kink.

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Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Postby Reza » Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:08 am

Beirut (Brad Anderson, 2018) 7/10

Low budget but intelligent film uses Morocco as the location to superbly recreate war torn Beirut of the early 1980s. A retired American diplomat (Jon Hamm), who suffered a personal tragedy during his posting in Beirut during the early 1970s, is brought back in ten years later to negotiate the release of a former colleague who has been kidnapped. Reluctantly the alcoholic man accepts the assignment returning to a city which is now strife ridden due to different divided political factions trying to assert their power. The complex (and confusing) politics hovers over the story which decides to focus instead on the diplomat's redemption as he tries to stay one step ahead of the kidnappers while keeping a close eye on his double crossing American colleagues (the CIA and the embassy). Aiding him is an officer (Rosamund Pike) assigned to assist him. The screenplay successfully channels the story like a spy thriller straight out of a John Le Carré book. Hamm is very good but Pike is unfortunately stuck with a terribly underwritten role.

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Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Postby Reza » Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:08 am

Ocean's 8 (Gary Ross, 2018) 6/10

Danny Ocean (George Clooney) is dead and his sister Debbie (Sandra Bullock), just released from a prison stint, plans on pulling a fool-proof jewel robbery with the help of her partner-in-crime (Cate Blanchett). Five specialists are hired - the film gets a gender switch this time around - a computer hacker (Rihanna), an emotionally fragile fashion designer (Helena Bonham Carter), a jeweler (Mindy Kaling), a pick-pocket (Awkwafina) and an old partner (Sarah Paulson). Their target is a movie star (Anne Hathaway) who is persuaded to wear a Cartier diamond necklace to the Met Ball which they plan to steal. The film is strictly formulaic and plods along picking up some momentum during the heist sequence with the cast of female stars clearly enjoying themselves. Bullock looks like a waxwork - her face immobile thanks to a terrible facelift - Blanchett has an underwritten role, Carter does her usual eccentric bit full of annoying tics but Hathaway steals the film from her co-stars. She is sexy, witty, extremely funny and looks fabulous appropriately dressed to her teeth for the Gala with a spectacular diamond necklace around her neck. Sadly the screenplay does not have the playfullness and comraderie of Steven Soderberg's original with Clooney, Pitt, Damon and their gang - Elliott Gould and Shaobo King are the only leftovers from the original trilogy - although many famous (albeit second-rate) names appear in cameos (as guests at the Met) of which the most delightful are Elizabeth Ashley, Marlo Thomas, Dana Ivey and Mary Louise Wilson as four old ladies who help out the gang at a crucial juncture. Pity the film is a missed opportunity and hope the sequel comes up with more surprises.

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Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Postby Reza » Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:08 am

Sunday Dinner for a Soldier (Lloyd Bacon, 1944) 8/10

Absolutely corny, old fashioned but utterly charming and sentimental homespun Americana with heavy doses of wartime patriotism. A poor family living on a beach in a derelict boat house invite a soldier to Sunday dinner in order to do their bit for the war effort. The soldier doesn't arrive till the end of the film and the screenplay is a series of vignettes about the family - an old man (Charles Winninger) bickering with a smart mouthed spinster (Anne Revere), his exasperated eldest grandaughter (Anne Baxter) trying to meet ends meet, the antics of her precocious siblings (Bobby Driscoll & Connie Marshall) and the soldier (John Hodiak) who finally arrives for dinner after an initial mixup. Baxter and Hodiak make a luminous couple who fell in love while shooting this film and married. The film's message of hope and love in times of adversity went down well with the public and it still manages to bring a happy smile to one's face.

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Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Postby Reza » Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:07 am

Malta Story (Brian Desmond Hurst, 1953) 6/10

During WWII Malta is repeatedly bombed by the Italians and Germans while the British offer a strong defence. Low budget film has a documentary feel to it with actual war-time archive footage interspersed. The human angle revolves around two dull romantic sub plots between an aerial reconnaissance specialist (Alec Guinness) and a local girl (Muriel Pavlow), whose mother (Flora Robson) and brother (Nigel Stock) figure prominently, and an RAF officer (Anthony Steel) and a wren (Renée Asherson). Jack Hawkins is around posturing stiffly as the resident air force CO. Superbly photographed by Robert Krasker on location highlighting the plight of the residents of Malta.

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Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Postby Reza » Sat Aug 18, 2018 6:56 am

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (J.A. Bayona, 2018) 7/10

The series gets more and more prepostrous but that does not stop it from being any less exciting - humans being chased by the T-Rex or the Raptor is an image that will always remain pretty scary. This installment has the duo (Chris Pratt & Bryce Dallas Howard) from the previous one trying to save the dinosaurs on that island from being killed by an active volcano. Abetting the plan is a nefarious animal trafficker (Rafe Spall) and his gang (Toby Jones, B.D. Wong & Ted Levine) with the plot converging at a gothic mansion in California - home to the surviving scientist (James Cromwell) who discovered the dinosaur dna - where he lives with his grandaughter and her Mrs Danvers-like governess (Geraldine Chaplin). The plot throws in the kid to provide obvious tension when the giant reptiles cut loose and rampage through the house. The screenplay involves cloning of not only a new specie of dinosaur but also delves into human cloning. Pratt and Howard (there is a witty closeup of her notorious stiletto heels) make an engaging couple and the beasts go through the usual motion of creating havoc. The ensuing rollercoaster ride of terror may seem old hat and repetitious but it still manages to keep the audience on the edge of the seat. It will be interesting to see where the plot goes in the next sequel since the beasts have now been brought out in the open becoming "a world problem" as predicted by the scientist (Jeff Goldblum) on Capital Hill. Enjoyable summer flick if you allow yourself the luxury of suspending all the disbelief on view.


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